Case Studies of Integrated UF + RO Membrane Operations in Difficult Waters in China

By Angela Yeung, Robert Chu, Steven Rosenberg, Ph.D., and Thomas Tong, Ph.D.


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While the literature strongly suggests the viability of ultrafiltration (UF) as pretreatment for reverse osmosis (RO) in high-turbidity water to maintain first-stage RO operation, most studies are economic calculations or pilot-trial demonstrations. More operational details of commercial installations are required to support the case for UF membranes as a reliable pretreatment for industrial wastewater and for RO desalination (1, 2). In Northern China coastal and interior regions, severe water stress is occurring. In order to meet water demands, water reuse and seawater desalination with integrated membrane operations (UF + RO) are being adopted. This article will present a case study of desalination in the WangTan Power Plant located in the harbor of HeBei province in the northeast of China. This case is representative of many facilities in the region for both industrial and drinking water with highly turbid and variable feed seawater. The iron and steel industry in China currently produces 40% of the worldメs steel. Steel wastewaters are high in metals that can easily lead to RO membrane scaling problems. We show a case study of internal water reuse at Tai Steel in northwest China (3).

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